Members of UFCW Local 663 who work at grocery stores in the Brainerd Lakes area in Minnesota ratified a new contract on Dec. 6 that builds better lives for more than 400 families. The three-year contract covers UFCW Local 663 members who work at Quisberg’s Cub Foods in Baxter and Brainerd, Super One in Baxter, and at Miner’s Super One in Crosby.
The new contract includes a Variable Annuity Pension Plan (VAPP), which is a defined benefit pension design where the accumulated benefit accrual is adjusted up or down each year based on an investment hurdle rate of 5.5 percent. Members will transition benefit accruals from the current defined benefit plan to the VAPP beginning in January 2019. A VAPP is attractive to workers because it reduces investment risk and offers an upside in terms of benefit improvements. Employers like VAPP because the design limits their liability.
“Securing the pension was a priority for me because it secures the future for everybody in this industry. It’s the light at the end of the tunnel,” said Mike Insley, who is a member of UFCW Local 663 and is employed as a grocery manager at Cub Foods in Brainerd. Insley has been in the industry for 35 years.
The new contract also improves wage scales for all members and includes increased wages for full- and part-time positions for top of scale and over scale each year of the contract.
“It’s important to me that we fought for and won higher wages, as my family and I depend on it,” said Sandra Livingston, who is a member of UFCW Local 663 and is employed as a cashier at Super One in Baxter.
Under the agreement, all eligible workers will enjoy a secured employer commitment to pay the increased true cost of the health and welfare plan, as well as improved treatment and new and improved language to protect workers in the workplace. The new and improved language includes respect and dignity in the workplace; victim, witness, and domestic abuse leave; and two-week schedules that give members more established expectations and opportunities to better plan out their lives.
“Our members lead the way to better benefits for their families and a higher quality of life for all,” said UFCW Local 663 President Matt Utecht. “A rising tide lifts all boats. We’re proud to work side by side with our Brainerd Lakes retail grocery members and elevate the industry while doing so.”